Preheat the oven to 220°C/425°F/gas mark 7. Allow your butter to soften to room temperature. Chop the parsley, thyme and tarragon and mix into the softened butter. Season well.
Using your hand, gently feel your way under the skin at the back of the bird and loosen it all the way along over the breast meat. Be careful not to tear it, you want to open the space so you can line it with the butter.
Divide the butter mixture in two and carefully place under the skin on both sides of the turkey, try to spread it as widely as possible. From the outside of the skin, gently massage the butter around the meat so it is evenly covered.
Place the turkey breast side up on a roasting tray, drizzle with olive oil and season well with salt and pepper. Add 300ml water to the base of the tin, bake for 10 - 15 minutes at 220°C/425°F/gas mark 7. Then turn down the oven to 180°C /350°F/gas mark 4, cover tightly with foil and bake for 2 hours, basting frequently with the juices in the tin. Remove the foil and roast for another 20 minutes - or until the turkey is cooked.
To test whether your turkey is cooked, insert a skewer into the thickest part of the leg and check that the juices run clear rather than pink. Turkey sizes and oven temperature vary so always check your turkey about 30 minutes before the calculated roasting time. If the juices are pink roast for another 15 minutes and check again. Repeat until the turkey is cooked. If your turkey is larger than 5kg just remember to give it 10-15 minutes at 220°C then allow another 30 minutes per kg at 180°C.
Once cooked, rest the turkey for at least 45 minutes before carving.
Julia Child's Roast Turkey
Julia's Kitchen Wisdom
Salt and Pepper
Lemon (to season turkey cavity, if desired)
Port or madeira
Defrosting Frozen Turkey
Keep the turkey in its original wrapper. A 20-pound bird takes 3 to 4 days to defrost in the refrigerator, about 12 hours in a sinkful of water. Warning: Do not stuff your turkey in advance, since the stuffing could start to sour and spoil inside the bird — goodbye, happy holidays.
Servings: Count on 1/2 pound of turkey per serving, or 1 pound per person, with leftovers. Roast at 325 F (or see below for high- temperature roasting).
Cooking time: For unstuffed birds: 12 to 14 pounds, about 4 hours; 16 to 20 pounds, about 5 hours; 20 to 26 pounds, about 6 hours. Add 20 to 30 minutes in all for stuffed birds.
Internal temperatures: 175 F at the thickest portion of the leg; 165 F in the breast; 160 F in the center of the stuffing. Stuffing amounts are 1/2 to 3/4 cup per pound of turkey, making roughly 2 to 2 1/2 quarts of stuffing for a 14 to 16 pound bird.
Child says that she prefers a flavoring in the cavity (salt and paper, and a thinly sliced lemon, a small onion and a handful of celery leaves), rather than a stuffing and she cooks the stuffing separately. Make turkey stock with the neck and scraps (see Turkey Stock recipe below). Save the liver, heart, and gizzard for giblet gravy (See Giblet Gravy recipe below).
To prepare the turkey for roasting, cut out of the wishbone and cut off the wing nubbins.
Skewer the neck skin to the backbone, and skewer or sew the cavity closed or close it with foil.
Rub the turkey with salt and vegetable oil.
Roast breast up on an oiled rack, basting rapidly every 20 minutes or so.
Start testing rapidly for done-ness 20 minutes before the estimated roasting time- and note that a sure indication of approaching done-ness is that turkey juices begin to exude into the pan.
Simmer the turkey neck and scraps in enough water to cover them, skim off scum that rises to the surface for several minutes, then salt very lightly.
Cover loosely and simmer for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, adding water if necessary.
You may also wish to include chopped onions, carrots, and celery.
Strain and degrease.
When stock is cool, cover and either refrigerate for several days or freeze.
First make a simple sauce, as follows. Have the turkey bones chopped or sawed into 1/2 inch pieces, and brown with a little oil in a heavy pan with a chopped carrot, onion and celery stalk.
Sprinkle on a tablespoon of flour and brown, stirring for a minute or two.
Add a chopped plum tomato, spices, turkey stock, and water to cover.
Simmer slowly, loosely covered for two hours, adding more liquid as needed. Peel the gizzard and add it to simmer with the rest of the ingredients, removing it after about an hour, or when it is tender. Mince it. Sauté the heart and liver briefly in butter, mince them, and add to the finished sauce along with the minced gizzard, simmering for several minutes and adding, if you wish, a spoonful or so of dry port of Madeira. Strain, degrease and boil down to concentrate flavor.
In Child's high-temperature roasting system, you start the roasting at 500 F, and in 15 to 20 minutes, when the juices begin to burn, reduce the heat to 450 F.
Next, add chopped vegetables (1/2 cup of chopped carrots and 1/2 cup chopped onions) and 2 cups of water to the pan, pouring in a little more water now and then as needed to prevent burning and smoking.
A 14- pounder will roast in about 2 rather than 4 hours. High heat makes a brown and juicy turkey, but you have little control in such a hot oven, and Child thinks the slower, longer cooking produces a more tender bird.
Place turkey on a rack in a shallow roasting pan, breast side up. Tuck wings under turkey; tie drumsticks together. Bake at 325° for 2 hours.
In a small bowl, mix glaze ingredients; brush over turkey. Bake 1-3/4 to 2-1/4 hours longer or until a thermometer inserted in thigh reads 180°. Baste occasionally with pan drippings. (Cover loosely with foil if turkey browns too quickly.)
For stuffing, in a Dutch oven, heat butter over medium-high heat. Add onion and celery; cook and stir until tender. Add stuffing cubes and seasonings; toss to combine. Stir in enough boiling water to reach desired moistness; transfer to a greased 13-in. x 9-in. baking dish. Bake, covered, for 1 hour. Uncover and bake 10-15 minutes longer or until lightly browned.
Remove turkey from oven; cover loosely with foil and let stand 15 minutes before carving. If desired, skim fat and thicken pan drippings for gravy. Serve with turkey and stuffing.Yield: 14 servings (8 cups stuffing).
Editor's Note: Stuffing can also be baked in turkey. Loosely stuff turkey just before baking; bake as directed, increasing final bake time by 15 minutes or until a thermometer reads 180° in thigh and 165° in center of stuffing.
2 tablespoons chopped mixed fresh herbs such as oregano, thyme, parsley, or sage
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Place turkey, meat-side up, on a rack set inside a roasting pan.
In a medium bowl, mix together chicken broth, 2 tablespoons olive oil, 2 teaspoons salt, Worcestershire sauce, honey, and cayenne pepper. Fill a turkey injector with chicken broth mixture (you will have to refill injector several times). Inject small amounts of solution at regular intervals all over turkey, taking care to remove injector from turkey before refilling. Refrigerate turkey for at least 2 hours and up to overnight.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
In a small bowl, mix together garlic, herbs, butter, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Using your fingertips, gently loosen skin on both sides of turkey breast so that it is separated from the flesh. Divide garlic mixture evenly and spread under skin on each side of breast. Season turkey all over with remaining teaspoon salt and remaining 1/2 teaspoon pepper; brush skin with remaining 2 teaspoons olive oil.
Transfer turkey to oven and roast, uncovered, for 1 hour. Tent turkey with parchment paper-lined aluminum foil and continue to roast until a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the breast reaches 165 degrees on an instant-read thermometer, 20 to 40 minutes more. Remove turkey from oven and let stand 20 minutes before carving.
The Martha Stewart Show, November 2010
Brined and Roasted Turkey
Recipe courtesy Emeril Lagasse, 2001
Ingredients 1 (10 to 12-pound) turkey Brine, recipe follows 4 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature 1 large yellow onion, cut into 8ths 1 large orange, cut into 8ths 1 stalk celery, cut into 1-inch pieces 1 large carrot, cut into 1-inch pieces 2 bay leaves 2 sprigs thyme 1 1/2 to 2 cups chicken or turkey stock, for basting Turkey Broth: 1 tablespoon vegetable oil Reserved turkey neck and giblets 1 large carrot, coarsely chopped 1 onion, coarsely chopped 1 large celery stalk, coarsely chopped 1 small bay leaf 3 cups turkey stock, chicken stock, or canned low-salt chicken broth 3 cups water Gravy: 4 cups turkey broth 1 cup dry white wine 4 tablespoons unsalted butter 1/4 cup flour Salt and freshly ground black pepper Directions Remove the neck, giblets, and liver from the cavity of the turkey and reserve for the gravy. Rinse the turkey inside and out under cold running water.
Soak the turkey in the brine, covered and refrigerated, for at least 4 hours and up to 24 hours.
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
Remove the turkey from the brine and rinse well under cold running water. Pat dry with paper towels, inside and out. Place breast side down in a large, heavy roasting pan, and rub on all sides with the butter. Season lightly inside and out with salt and pepper. Stuff the turkey with the onion, orange, celery, carrot, bay leaves, and thyme. Loosely tie the drumsticks together with kitchen string.
For the turkey broth: Heat the oil in a large heavy saucepan over medium high heat. Add the turkey neck, heart, and gizzard to the pan and saute until just beginning to brown, about 1 minute. Add the chopped vegetables and bay leaf to the pan and saute until soft, about 2 minutes. Pour the stock and 3 cups of water into the pan and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to medium-low and simmer until the stock is reduced to 4 cups, about 1 hour, adding the chopped liver to the pan during the last 15 minutes of cooking.
Strain the stock into a clean pot or large measuring cup. Pull the meat off the neck, chop the neck meat and giblets, and set aside.
Roast the turkey, uncovered, breast side down for 1 hour. Remove from the oven, turn, and baste with 1/2 cup stock. Continue roasting with the breast side up until an instant-read meat thermometer registers 165 degrees F when inserted into the largest section of thigh (avoiding the bone), about 2 3/4 to 3 hours total cooking time. Baste the turkey once every hour with 1/2 to 3/4 cup chicken or turkey stock.
Remove from the oven and place on a platter. Tent with aluminum foil and let rest for 20 minutes before carving.
For the pan gravy: Pour the reserved turkey pan juices into a glass-measuring cup and skim off the fat. Place the roasting pan on 2 stovetop burners over medium heat add the pan juice and 1 cup turkey broth and the white wine to the pan, and deglaze the pan, stirring to scrape any brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Add the remaining 3 cup of broth and bring to a simmer, then transfer to a measuring cup.
In a large heavy saucepan, melt the butter over medium high heat. Stir in the flour and cook, stirring constantly, to make a light roux. Add the hot stock, whisking constantly, then simmer until thickened, about 10 minutes. Add the reserved neck meat and giblets to the pan and adjust seasoning, to taste, with salt and black pepper. Pour into a gravy boat and serve.
Brine: 1 cup salt 1 cup brown sugar 2 oranges, quartered 2 lemons, quartered 6 sprigs thyme 4 sprigs rosemary To make the brining solution, dissolve the salt and sugar in 2 gallons of cold water in a non-reactive container (such as a clean bucket or large stockpot, or a clean, heavy-duty, plastic garbage bag.) Add the oranges, lemons, thyme, and rosemary.
Note: if you have a big turkey and need more brine than this, use 1/2 cup salt and 1/2 cup brown sugar for every gallon of water.
Alton Brown's Perfect Roast Turkey
THE PRIMARY GOAL
To prepare a juicy, flavorful turkey with a pleasantly crisp, brown skin that tastes terrific even without the assistance of stuffing or gravy. All of the (minimal) ingredients you need are in bold type.
HERE IS THE GEAR REQUIRED FOR THIS PROJECT
One 5-gallon cooler with a drain spout
Five 1-gallon resealable plastic bags
V-shaped rack (optional)
Large roasting pan (two disposable aluminum pans are fine)
Heavy-duty aluminum foil
Nonstick vegetable oil spray
Disposable kitchen gloves (optional)
Probe thermometer with digital base, insulated wire, and alarm
Large cutting board
THE PRIMARY CHALLENGE Because it’s not very moist to begin with, turkey meat is extremely easy to overcook. Once overcooked, it becomes very unappealing indeed. What’s worse, turkeys are composed of two different types of meat—white and dark—which have to be cooked to different temperatures.
· Buy the right bird.
· Alter the nature of the meat.
· Cook the meat in two phases, one to brown and crisp the skin and another to cook the bird to the exact state of doneness.
· Let the meat rest to preserve moisture.
GOOD BIRD HUNTING Although you can order a fresh turkey by mail, once you take shipping into account, the cost is usually three times that of a grocery-store bird. I prefer a frozen turkey in the 18-pound range (which will feed about 12 people). Since a frozen bird is about as pliant as a bowling ball, it doesn’t get bruised on its way to the supermarket. If you don’t have time to brine the bird, buy a kosher one, which has already spent time in salt.
BREAKING THE ICE Quick thaw Place the wrapped bird in a 5-gallon cooler with a drain spout. Place the cooler in the bathtub and cover the turkey with cold water. You don’t have to do the quick thaw in the tub, but it sure makes things easier. I drain and replace the water every 2 to 3 hours (to keep the water at 40°F or below) until the turkey has thawed (8 to 10 hours, depending on beginning temperature).
Slow thaw Place the bird in a cooler with about an inch of ice in the bottom. Park it in a cool place, and the bird will be workable in about four days. Add more ice if the cooler’s temperature rises above 40°F.
TIME TO BRINE
Turkeys may not come into the world moist, but there’s no reason they have to be dry when they leave. The key is to soak your bird in a salt solution, or brine. Clean your cooler with soap and water, then pour in half a gallon of hot tap water, 2/3 cup sugar, and a pound of salt. (Remember, different salts take up different volumes. For instance, you need 3 cups of Diamond Crystal kosher salt to make a pound but only 2 cups of Morton’s kosher salt.) Stir thoroughly to dissolve the crystals. Then stir in 8 pounds of ice (that’s a gallon of water) and 16 cups (128 ounces) of vegetable broth.
Meanwhile, unwrap the thawed turkey and remove any parts (neck, bag o’ internal organs, etc.) that might be lurking inside the cavities. If you want to use these to make gravy later, okay. Me, I feed ‘em to the dog. If there’s a metal or plastic clip holding the turkey’s back legs together, leave it on.
Place the turkey in the brine, breast side up. If your cooler is too big, the brine may not cover it. If we’re talking only an inch or so, don’t worry about it. But if your bird is seriously beached, you’ll need a smaller container. If your turkey floats, fill a one-gallon resealable plastic bag with water and place it on top of the buoyant bird. Set the cooler, lid closed, in a cool place for 8 to 12 hours, turning the bird over once if possible. For safety reasons, it is important to keep the brining liquid at 40°F or right below. Check it periodically with the probe thermometer; if the temperature is getting too high, add a few freezer packs that have been enclosed in resealable plastic bags.
(T minus 4 hours and counting till dinner)
Remove one of the oven racks and set the other in the next-to-the-lowest position, then preheat the oven to 500°F. Why 500°F? Because we need the fat under the turkey skin to heat quickly and sauté the skin from below. If we start with a low temperature, a lot of the fat will melt and roll away to the bottom of the bird without doing any browning at all.
Remove the turkey from the brine, rinse under cold water, and pat dry with paper towels. Contemplate the main cavity. Lots of things could go in there…in fact, only one thing shouldn’t: stuffing. Stuffing is evil. Stuffing adds mass, so it slows the cooking. That’s evil because the longer the bird cooks, the drier it will be. And since the cavity is a perfect haven for salmonella bacteria, you have to be absolutely certain that the cavity is heated through to 165°F, which means overcooking at least part of the bird…which is evil. If you really love stuffing, wait until the turkey comes out of the oven, add some of the pan drippings to the stuffing, and bake it in a dish. That’s called dressing, and that’s not evil—stuffing is, though.
Aromatic items such as fresh herbs, onions, and celery are cleared for the cavity. Not only will they infuse the meat with their essence, but they also make the kitchen smell very nice, thus priming your diners for the glories to come. So loosely pack your bird with any combination of fresh herbs (for instance, thyme, rosemary, and sage); one onion, two celery stalks, and two large carrots, all roughly chopped. But keep the packing loose—otherwise you might as well have stuffing and stuffing is…you know
Place the turkey, breast side up, on a V-shaped rack set inside a large roasting pan (I just stack together two of the big disposable foil pans that populate supermarkets around the holidays). A V-shaped rack is basically a heavy wire rack that holds the turkey up off the floor of the pan and keeps it kind of bunched in on itself. If you don’t have a V-shaped rack, make an aluminum foil snake, about an inch thick and three feet long. Loop it until you’ve got an oval-shaped spiral about ten inches by eight inches. Set this coil in the pan, then place the turkey on the coil. Although V-shaped racks and snakes will keep the turkey from sitting in its own drippings, they can’t work miracles like promoting browning on the bottom. Oh, well—a non-brown bottom is better than a soggy bottom.
Cut a piece of heavy-duty aluminum foil that when folded in half is big enough to cover the turkey’s breast. Lay this onto the breast, shiny side up, and mold it into a breastplate (i.e., a triangular sheath that covers the breast meat completely). Remove it, lube the underside with nonstick vegetable oil spray, and set aside.
Now, rub a quarter of a stick of butter between your hands until your digits are liberally lubed (if this is just too icky for you, use disposable gloves). Rub the butter into the turkey as if you were a masseuse on a mission.
You’ll probably need to re-butter your hands a couple of times in order to get a nice, even coating. When you’re done massaging, ditch the remaining butter and the gloves (if you’re using them).
Time to get the bird in the box. Since the first segment of this thermal trip is about browning the breast, I go in neck-end first and breast up. Set your oven timer to half an hour. When it dings, check the breast. It should be nicely browned—if not, return the turkey to the oven and cook another ten minutes. Then remove the bird and apply the breastplate. This will help reflect heat and slow the cooking of the breast meat. That way, by the time the white meat hits the target temp of 161°F, the dark meat should be around 180°F, which is ideal.
Last but not least, insert your thermometer’s probe directly through the foil and into the deepest part of the breast. Yes, most turkeys come with thermometers installed, but since they’re made to pop up at 180°F, they’re tragically late to the party. Probe thermometers feature, well, a probe that connects to a digital base via a couple of feet of insulated wire. The base has a magnet on it so that it can be placed on the outside of the oven while the turkey cooks. Most models also feature an alarm that can be set to go off at the temperature of your choice (see the complete setup, above).
Reduce the oven temperature to 350°F and return the turkey to the oven, breastplate armor securely in place. Set your probe thermometer to go off at 161°F. (Yes, I know that the instant-kill temperature for salmonella is 165°F, but the temperature will continue to rise inside the bird for several minutes after you take it out of the oven.) If you leave the oven door closed, an 18-pounder should hit the thermal finish line 2 to 2 1/2 hours after the oven temperature has been reduced. That means no basting! Basting is evil. Basting does nothing for the meat. Why? Skin. Skin is designed to keep stuff out of the bird, so basting just lets heat out of the oven. That means the turkey will take longer to cook…so don’t touch that door!
Once 161°F has been attained in the breast (and 180°F in the thigh), take the bird out of the oven and give it a rest. No matter what you do, do not skip this step. If you slice up that bird straight from the oven, all that juice you worked so hard to get into it will run out all over the platter, lost forever. So cover with either aluminum foil or the lid from your kettle grill and wait half an hour.
When carving time arrives, first be sure to wow the assembled appetites with the whole bird before breaking it down. I like to create thick slices by removing the breast meat in two lobes, then cutting across the grain.
A. Pull turkey legs away from the body until thighbones pop. Cut away the legs. Separate thighs and drumsticks at the joints. Place all parts on a cutting board and carve parallel to the bone.
B. Remove the breast meat in two lobes and place skin side up on cutting board. Slice crosswise against the grain. (For longer, thinner slices, leave breast attached and carve parallel to the breastbone.)
C. Pull wings away from the shoulders and cut wings at joints. Serve wings whole.
The only downside to roasting a brined bird is that the pan drippings may be too salty for gravy making. You can usually get around that by mixing the drippings with 1 cup H20, 1 cup low-salt chicken broth, and a cornstarch slurry. Or you can look at it this way: The turkey will be so tender that you won’t need any gravy. Some fresh cranberry sauce, however, would be very nice indeed. Besides tasting great on Turkey Day, the bird will still be loaded with moist flavor the next day. And let’s face it, in the end, isn’t Thanksgiving really about the sandwiches?